CRS in Côte d'Ivoire
Côte d'Ivoire has been in crisis since the mid-1990s, and the situation intensified during the 2011 presidential election. The Ivorian Catholic Conference of Bishops remained divided on the issues until January 2013, when they offered apologies through a pastoral declaration overviewing the situation in the country and promoting peace and national reconciliation. In response to the ongoing conflict, Catholic Relief Services is working with Caritas of Côte d'Ivoire with technical assistance from the Africa Working Group for Justice and Peace to support a 3-year peace and reconciliation project with the goal of restoring peace and social cohesion among Ivorians.
CRS' History in Côte d'Ivoire
CRS has provided institutional, technical and financial support to help meet the needs of the poor and vulnerable in Côte d'Ivoire through Caritas Côte d'Ivoire since 2002. Through this partnership, CRS has leveraged support for a variety of different initiatives related to health, HIV prevention, emergency response, and peace and reconciliation. Previous work includes distribution of non-food items to displaced persons, funded travel to workshops, support of technical assistance for the operational planning and implementation of urban vouchers, and linking a donor to the Mie N'Gou center, a building housing a therapeutic feeding program that needed renovations. CRS is also seeking ways to provide livelihoods support to cocoa growing communities. All activities have been implemented and/or developed by Caritas Côte d'Ivoire with financial or technical support from CRS.
The most current project addresses the processes of peace and national reconciliation. The project promotes research into peace among profoundly divided Ivorian populations. It joins the Church and other religious communities in seeking peace and reconciliation by creating a platform for religious and civil society to meet and share experiences, and advocate for reconciliation. It also aims to help restore confidence in ethnic, religious and political groups.